King Crimson July10th Red Bank New Jersey

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson claim King Crimson was a huge influence . They loved The Stones & King Crimson . I identified with their passivity towards The Beatles .

But I never understood the King Crimson reverence . OK OK.. They pioneered a genre ; defined " Prog " and " Fusion " . etc etc The songs I heard never really interested me .

Later I was exposed to Robert Fripp and immediately dismissed his new wave noise making . I hated his guitar style .

Years go by and my longtime musician friend/bandmate/collaborator totally worships King Crimson . He also reveres Frank Zappa and has spent considerable energy exposing me to music I just don't like . Sorry . I can't make myself like Frank Zappa .

Considering my opinion of Robert Fripp....and Adrian Belew ...I figured King Crimson was a lost cause .

Then about 8 years ago I agreed to learn 20th Century Skitzoid Man . The band spent considerable time learning the outro . It was areal ball buster . Finally we had it down . I remember the first time we played it for a crowd . I was locked in furious concentration . When the song was over I looked up and the room was empty ! The result was the same everytime we played the song and it was soon dropped from the set list despite all the time we spent learning all the parts .

My interest in King Crimson was no more . But I kept hearing people insist how great they are .

Last weekend the die hard King Crimson fanboy , the same guy who tried so hard to turn me on to Frank Zappa calls me with 3rd row seats to King Crimson . Why not ?  Not a bad way to spend a Monday night . I'll take the chance .

One of the original members was drummer Bill Buford . His drum tracks are legendary . After a lifetime of Prog Rocking he has retired .

In order to cover for Buford ,King Crimson features THREE Drummers on stage .Holy Shit ! They really steal the show . I am a Fan of drums and percussion ,especially in the hands of highly skilled musicians , but these cats were super humans .

The tribal grooves locked in with an industrial bass /synth /EBow guitar and a bellowing baritone sax . It felt like an orchestra . Everything was deliberate but retained a real sense of a living, breathing entity . The communication between the drummers was psychic . I've got pretty good time but my attempts to count some parts proved futile .  The precision was phenomenal .

It didn't take long before the audience entered a trance like state . After a 90 minute set came a 20 minute intermission followed by another 90 minutes plus two encores including 20th Century Skitszoid Man as the finale .

I was exhausted and pretty much blown away . Its a rare occasion for me to have such a memorable experience at a non guitar centric concert . I came as a skeptic but left a fan .

I also found the way the audience absorbed and reacted to the music unusual . Folks had traveled from great distances . I got the feeling some attended every show on the tour . There was a aging hippy/deadhead faction having a religious experience .

Both Robert Fripp and Tony Levin are in their early 70s . Its astounding they continue to perform this type of aggressive and complex music . 

I'm happy I took the opportunity to see these icons . These guys are still improving . They've been polishing their act for 40+ years . Everybody seems to think their " heyday " is NOW .




  • DonthegreekDonthegreek Posts: 2,816
    :)  One of my all time favorite bands, even with all the lineup changes. And an acquired taste.
  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 8,001
    Love the early Fripp/Belew, and just early Crimson in general. Plus Levin? Sick!
  • LerxstFanLerxstFan Posts: 4,782
    Damn, I have always wanted to see these guys live, but it never seems to work out. I might have to make the effort. 
  • SunRedSunSunRedSun Posts: 482
    edited July 2017
    Hi Jeb, your recollections triggered me to add my 3 cents. From a bit schizoid perspective of rather not-so-long-ago converted fanboy...

    I actually got turned on the Levin-Mastelotto duo when I saw Stickmen with Terry Bozzio live 5 yeas ago. Until then - this kind of prog was too deliberate for me to take, with exceptions of the more melodic, song oriented parts of Lake and Wetton/Brufford incarnations. Still, then on the night, I saw Pat Mastelotto and Tony in action.... I was sitting flat on the floor, front to stage and had my jaw accompanying the level of my balls. It was like: "I just can't friggin' believe it". So then, naturally I drifted into Discipline, Belew and all these guys did in Crimson vast branches. Conversion was done. And the two night stint of theirs in my hometown last Autumn was - I guess with the Gilmour's gigs - probably the high-point of everything I've seen live over last 20 years of going to the live gigs.

    1st - I'm glad you liked the show. The current incarnation is nothing like their past ever was - simply because it's the first time for decades that they revisit vast part of their '69 - '74 heyday. For so long Fripp seemed hating to even try to do it, but now he found a new joy and new angle to take all he so meticolously created to another level. That's totally unique 'cause something old got totally re-polished to the state of primal glory, like you've found a vault of left over antiques bitten by time and reworked them to their splendour as like they are freshly conceived. Their approach is making all this stuff cohesive and brimming with life and vibrant detail. It's a new mastered way of owning and embracing what's yours anyway but what almost got forgotten by all and dismissed by the wheels of history.

    2nd - You mention Fripp and Levin. Don't know about Robert, but I've met Tony couple of times and - man - he's amazingly fit for his age. Could be the best preserved 71-year old in the world of prog. Slick, energetic and good natured. Let's not forget Mel Collins who, armed in the flute and sax, is the main soloist of the ensemble and also approaching 70. Lungs of steel, his playing is impeccable the whole night. I still don't know how he handles to achieve that, but he's a monster. Pat Mastelotto - my biggest friend in rock and roll (read: the only rockman who recognizes me by person every year when I meet him at the gigs or wave him from the audience) and a hell of an inspirtation, both as a player and as a wonderful human. Add Stacey, Rieflin, Harrison and Jakszyk to the equation - and there you have them - an orchestra that can do most everything that Fripp envisions.

    3rd - The band posessing the key to blending oil and water into one substance. Material new, material old - from Schizoid through Red, Discipline and Vroom selections to totally current new bits - for the usual artistic and time-spannig variety of Cirmson they should tarnish each other's throats. Until now, KC has never spanned so wide time frame of their catalogue but still - all is working as one and all choices for set seem to do just fine and allign in the end. More commercial song-ish staples with teeth-pullingly difficult prog tanks - this should go belly-up mashed and disjointed in the spotlight - no - it, again, just works and keeps you interested and mesmerised for three hours of eyes and ears pulled out of your head. And, finally, the present versus the absent. These guys conceive their art giving them all into it. Giants of Lake, Brufford, Wetton, Cross, Belew and Gunn might be out of this landscape for long, but none of them - either down here on the planet or out in the other dimension should be ashamed, jealous or sorry for what the 8-headed Beast does now. I repeat myself - I DON'T KNOW HOW FRIPP AND CO MAKE THE IMPOSSIBE COMBINATIONS OF CONTRARIES HAPPEN - but they leave those who witnessed think just as you said: "Don't know in detail how they do it - but yet and again their umpteenth prime is now."

    The new US leg of King Crimson dates in Autumn 2017 was just announced. Whether you know them or not, whether you endorse them or not - do not miss the chance to go and see them. Nothing else like them will ever take the stages in the future, I assure you of that.

    King Crimson 2017 US tour dates

    Oct 19: Austin Bass Concert Hall, TX
    Oct 21: Dallas Music Hall, TX
    Oct 23: Atlanta Center Stage, GA
    Oct 24: Atlanta Center Stage, GA
    Oct 26: Raleigh Duke Energy Centre For The Performing Arts, NC
    Oct 28: Washington Lisner Auditorium, DC
    Oct 29: Washington Lisner Auditorium, DC
    Oct 31: Newark New Jersey Performing Arts Centre, NJ
    Nov 02: Philadelphia Merriam Theatre, PA
    Nov 03: Philadelphia Merriam Theatre, PA
    Nov 06: Boston Orpheum Theatre, MA
    Nov 08: Albany The Egg, NY
    Nov 09: Albany The Egg, NY
    Nov 11: Allentown Miller Symphony Hall, PA
    Nov 17: New York Beacon Theatre, NY
    Nov 18: New York Beacon Theatre, NY
    Nov 22: Ann Arbor Michigan Theatre, MI
    Nov 24: Cleveland Hard Rock Rocksino, OH
    Nov 26: Milwaukee Riverside Theatre, WI

    Post edited by SunRedSun on
  • jebbuddajebbudda Posts: 5,030
    The new STICKMEN Cd was free at the door .

    Giving away Cds is a sure way to get your music heard .

    My bandmate Carl Hupp bought the tickets .Carl is a KC freak of the highest level . He and I have played together close to 20 years in various bands . Drums are his main instrument but he plays bass and keyboards .

    Carl recorded and composed an all instrumental "fusion" Cd and Tony Levin played on some tracks . If Tony Levin had tits Carl would marry him.

    Everybody needs to get out and see as many live shows as possible . There is no such thing as too much music .

  • One of my absolute favourite band.
    I love all incarnations and would love to see them live at least once in my lifetime.
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